Sometimes I wonder (okay often I wonder) why things happen the way they do and why I feel such intense emotions about things I see and hear. Recently I learned about an amazing miracle of multiples and began watching the blog of this family. Immediately upon reading the early posts of their blog I began to feel such intense feelings of 'caution'. I wanted to say to this family who was getting so prepared for their naturally conceived quads (two sets of identical twins) to wait, to not buy so much, not get so prepared...because you just never know what might happen. I hated that I felt this way, hated that I couldn't just be happy for this amazing miracle. From this I began to read other blogs of multiples who were connecting with this family as well. Most of them were larger order multiples...triplets, quads and even quints. I am a glutton for punishment I guess... because it did give me feelings of jealousy and even anger. I am sure this will happen for many years....I mean I couldn't even keep 2 babies alive and here are people who got to have 3, 4 and even 5 babies at the same time.
And so many of these blogs that I read began at the early stages of their pregnancy and so many of them were like the Masencups...preparing long before they even reached the end of their first trimester for their multiple babies. This led me to ponder why I didn't do this and all I could come up with is perhaps a subconscious self-preservation.
Self-preservation is behavior that ensures the survival of an organism. It is universal among living organisms. In some vertebrates, pain and fear are parts of this mechanism. Pain causes discomfort so that the organism is inclined to stop the pain. Fear causes the organism to seek safety and may cause a release of adrenaline, which has the effect of increased strength and heightened senses such as hearing, smell, and sight. Self-preservation may also be interpreted figuratively; in regard to the coping mechanisms one needs to prevent emotional trauma from distorting the mind
I wrote about some of this before on here when my FB friend, Carrie, the mom of two TTTS angels, posted pictures of tearing down her nursery and putting away all the twin clothes she had bought. I know that some of the reasons we had nothing prepared except our double stroller was that we didn’t know if we were having boys or girls and that is very likely why I hadn’t bought any clothes either….though really when I think back to that time in the fall of 2008 I do remember thinking I should/could buy some matching gender neutral outfits or some twin 1 and twin 2 shirts. I remember thinking I should get a few outfits before I got too big to be able to do it….but it just never happened. I know some of the reasons I told myself were financial… we didn’t have the money to buy new things for the twins and we also didn’t need too much in the way of ‘stuff’ because we had one of most things and so many friends offered up the second one to us. But I never got around to picking up any of those things.
At the time I looked at as a blessing as I didn’t have to ‘deal’ with any of that stuff but when I read Carry’s blog in October I was a bit, well envious seems like a horrible word but it kind of suits and, as I often have, I wished for those twin moments, those moments to think about the excitement, the wonderment of it all and the fascination I know that I had. But then when I read what the Masencups have now experienced I think, again, that I was glad I didn’t have to deal with it. I am so very sorry for their loss and am hoping that perhaps, at some point, they may connect with some of the amazing friends I have who have supported me so much and who understand how many mixed emotions exist when you lose a baby or babies in a multiple pregnancy, especially when you remain pregnant for weeks afterwards.
I think that so often in life we self-preserve. I could come up with all the reasons in the world at the time for why I wasn’t more ‘ready’ for the twins…. money, generosity of others, a firm sense that I would not go into labour early (a over-confidence, a naivety???) but in reality I think I was preparing myself to not be disappointed, hurt, emotionally traumatized. I think in so many ways we all do that. For those that make it past the crisis (in the case of many who read this, past the diagnosis and treatment for TTTS) it becomes very hard to prepare for the next stage no matter how joyful it should be. Even when it isn’t joy we are anticipating but rather just ‘calm’, ‘normal’ and ‘real’ it is just so hard sometimes to be positive or to feel 100% confident that everything is going to be okay.
Part of me will always wish I’d been less self-preserving and more spontaneous, part of me will always wish I’d written and journaled each step of the journey along the way, part of me will always wish I’d taken photos of my ever growing belly and a big part of me will always wish that I had a ‘twin gift’ from Mommy that I could save for Cameron and keep in memory of Cole. If wishes were fishes….
But then again I think that I did the best for me, the best I could, the thing that made sense, made it work and in all honesty, likely saved my sanity and my emotional stability back in December 2008. I don’t think self-preservation is a bad thing at all nor do I think the optimism that the mom of multiples, or even of singletons, feels and acts on is bad or wrong either. We all deal with things on the level that works for us and are left with the memories, the security and the comfort that is right for us.
Because what is self-preserving for some, what helps to protect them from feeling pain or fear, what keeps them from having their emotional trauma distort their mind may not be what another needs, wants, feels or even wishes upon anyone else on this earth. Coping is so personal...whether it's coping with preparation for joy or for sorrow. What matters is that we are here for those who need us in the moment when even their self-preservation undergoes a crisis.